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August 11th, 2010
03:12 PM ET

Controversial New York Islamic center will not relocate to public land

CNN's Alona Rivord filed this report:

Developers of a Muslim community center near the site of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks in New York Wednesday declined an offer by Gov. David Paterson to relocate the project.

Paterson had suggested Tuesday that state-owned property could provide an alternative building site for the controversial project.

"If the sponsors were looking for property anywhere at a distance that would be such that it would accommodate a better feeling among the people who are frustrated, I would look into trying to provide them with the state property they would need," Paterson told reporters.

Developers say the current location for the project - two blocks from ground zero - was selected intentionally to serve the Lower Manhattan community.

"We have a tremendous amount of respect for our governor, and we are always interested in hearing what our leaders have to say, and what their ideas and proposals are. But this has always been about serving Lower Manhattan," said developer Sharif El-Gamal of Soho Properties.

The proposed $100 million, 13-story facility, which is being built by the Cordoba Initiative, will include a mosque, performing arts center, gym, swimming pool and other public spaces. The Cordoba Initiative describes itself as a Muslim outreach group.

The project has drawn fierce opposition from many families of victims of the 9/11 attacks, as well as from several members of Congress and some religious groups. Some have argued that building a mosque near ground zero is disrespectful to the victims of the attacks.

"I don't have any objection to it being built there," Paterson said Tuesday. "But I am very sensitive to the desire of those who are adamant against it to see something else worked out."

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other city leaders support the center.

"Those of us in public service are going to have to create a greater dialogue right now to try to make sure those feelings are heard to whatever extent we can," Paterson said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Islam • New York • Politics • United States

soundoff (859 Responses)
  1. Pragmatic885

    I hope they do build it. See what happens when u try and defame the U.S. with your terrorist exploits. I can't wait to watch the mosque fall harder than the Twin towers were ever meant to be brought down. Good luck you ignorant wretches.

    August 12, 2010 at 2:34 am |
  2. jimmy

    As Rome went down so will the US.

    August 12, 2010 at 2:33 am |
  3. Ahuramazda

    Two things here:

    Whatever one's opinions about Islam, NYC is very big city, and anyone with any common sense, or sense of what is appropriate, can see that Ground Zero is not the best place to build a mosque.

    And as for my opinion of Islam, as I understand history, it was spread primarily by violent armed force, as it continues to be today, where it threatens to wipe out indigenous cultures from Darfur to Timor. What do you suppose happened to the "Egyptians?" Why do you think there are mosques in "Istanbul?" Violent conquest of the infidel continues to be taught today, from Gaza to Pakistan to Afghanistan, funded by the Saudis, the same people who funded the hijackers. I'm tired of hearing that "Islam is a religion of peace." Tell that to the Egyptians, the Persians, and the black Africans whose religions have been wiped off the map.

    August 12, 2010 at 2:30 am |
  4. Will

    The idea of this being built is not for religious purposes but to build something that represents a win for people of islamic belief. Ground zero will for eternity be the spot that a group of people stated to the world that they hated the United States. Under no terms should that same group have a symbol built near there to give them the idea they did something right. But of course in the end, the citizens of the United States will take it up the ass just like we have with the illegal immigrants stealing from us and sending it to their home country while we pay for their babies to be born, give them food stamps, and a free ticket to break our laws.

    August 12, 2010 at 2:03 am |
  5. Kim

    Just let them build their moque already! The 9/11 hijackers were not representative of the entire muslim population. They were crazy people. That's like Germany not allowing a church to be built near a concentration camp.

    August 12, 2010 at 2:01 am |
  6. Mike D

    What about the mosque that's already there, four blocks away?

    August 12, 2010 at 1:59 am |
  7. Tim

    I am glad that Liberals have completely changed their attitude towards freedom of religion all of a sudden. Suddenly, the US Constitution is a valuable document in their eyes that needs to be defended.

    August 12, 2010 at 1:54 am |
  8. soldier of fortune

    The mosque will be built, no matter how many people oppose it. Even if 99 % of the United States disapproved it, it wouldnt matter; mainstream public opinion, no matter how popular, does not trump the basic principles outlined in the First Amendment of the US Constitution. I find it hypocritical when opponents say "This religion wants to impose Shariah Law on the US!!" when these are the people who want to deny religious freedom to a group of 1.5 billion, based on the actions of a few thousand. I am a combat veteran, I served in the 504th Military Police Battalion, I served in Iraq from April 03 to April 04. Seeing the racst comments against Muslims disguts me. This is not the freedom I fought for...

    August 12, 2010 at 1:52 am |
  9. Lori

    The people who died on 9/11 died due to an ideology of a portion of the Muslim faith, like it or not that is reality. No-one in their right mind could possibly the b*lls and audacity to disregard that. It is beyond insensitive to that fact to even consider a mosque near this site. It does not mean all Muslims are extremists, it does not mean they are all crazy. But it does mean that certainly with ground zero right there you do not want even just one Muslim extremists breeding their hatred or ideology near this site of intense pain and trauma for the city of NY, or the United States. No-one can guarantee that there wouldn't be any Muslim extremism bred quietly in the ranks of that mosque, that Al Qaeada or Hamas or Iran wouldn't plant it there intentionally. What a wonderful opportunity for them to re-wound. LET US NEVER FORGET--9/11 WAS THEIR SECOND ATTACK THERE!!!! Ultimate respect only is the call here, like it or not, the city has a responsibility to the victims of 9/11 and to the country to deny this and they can in fact change the regulations for the safety of New York to not even allow the slightest chance of a recurrence in any fashion. It seems a direct slap in the face to say WELL ONLY MAYBE THERE WOULD BE MUSLIM EXTREMISTS THERE, BUT MAYBE NOT!!!!!! I'm thinkin NO!

    August 12, 2010 at 1:51 am |
  10. deuce

    I honestly don't understand why people are getting so worked up over this. If this group is doing it to get a rise out of people, then you're doing exactly what they want you to do. And if they're not, they obviously must understand that the community is so angry about this that they're gonna have nothing but problems in this location.

    Give it a year....they'll move. They'll get tired of the people picketing and spraying graffiti and leave of their own volition...

    August 12, 2010 at 1:45 am |
  11. Ernie Mercer

    I asked someone I know how far away from the WTC site the mosque should be, and he said "Try Iran."

    August 12, 2010 at 1:39 am |
  12. Joker

    All religion is about hatred. This mosque wont last long. IMO it will be vandalized if not destroyed.

    August 12, 2010 at 1:36 am |
  13. JJ Stuart

    Let's face it; if the Japanese came to us and wanted to build a Shinto shrine at Pearl Harbor how would we feel? Similar to this? No one opposes the building of an Islamic center but why there? We in the civilized world respect the dearly departed enough not to want the sacred memory of Ground Zero defamed, just like Pearl Harbor. I think that's easy enough to understand. There must be another site downtown where this could be built.Let's also remember this is NYC. How long might it be before some crazed New Yorker flies a plane into the Islamic center?

    August 12, 2010 at 1:28 am |
  14. NoMore

    So, the blogger from dailygut.com wants to put in a gay bar next door to the mosk. I hope he can pull that off and maybe we could get a dog grooming saloon to be the mosks other next door neighbor.
    All about tolerance is it? .... What do you think will happen then?

    August 12, 2010 at 1:25 am |
  15. E.

    They already own the land. They can build whatever they want on it so long as it is up to code.

    I feel bad the families of 9/11... but I also think that perhaps they are riding on a wave they shouldn't.

    Timothy McVeigh was Christian.
    So was the shooter of the Abortion Doctor.
    So are the folks that blow up Family Planning Clinics.
    So was the astronaught (self identified christian, anyways) that killed another astronaught out of sexual jealousy.

    Thousands, thousands and thousands of people die in the US by Christian hands. The KKK claims to be Christian int heir viewpoints.

    I could go on, and on, and on about Christianity. Why are there churches in Salem Massachusetts when it was the Christians that burned so many innocent people? Sometimes, people just need to suck up the fact that they are prejudiced and biased, and they will have to live with the fact that other people they won't like will be near them. Especially in a big city like NY.

    August 12, 2010 at 1:19 am |
  16. I understand

    @AmericaNA
    YES, no mention for these FALLEN AMERICAN HEROES.
    Some parties like us to hear about what they the need us to hear. That is all.
    Very strange.

    ====

    FRANKLIN

    WHAT about the AMERICAN CITIZENS that was BULLDOZED by the ISRAELI ARMY...
    OR
    What about the AMERICAN CITIZEN who got shot at close range by the ISRAELI COMMANDO point blank in the FLOTTILLLLA in International waters

    What about the AMERICAN sailors got killed by the ISRAELI ARMY sank down their ship in 1967 and until NOW THE ISRAELI ARMY WON'T APOLOGIZE NOR
    PAY THEIR RESPECTS TO OUR DEAD HERO.....

    August 11, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    August 12, 2010 at 1:17 am |
  17. fobner

    Wow... the hate is almost tangible. Muslims are one of the few remaining groups that it seems to be okay to hate these days. Society is blaming all muslims for the actions of a group of extremists. I understand why this location seems hurtful. I'm neither a Muslim nor a New Yorker. But I understand that entire community feels the loss and pain of that attack , and will still feel it just as sharply for many years to come.

    I'm on the outside and looking in. You can see the groundswell of hatred. Lashing out at a people rather than a person. So the question, I guess, is "where does the hate end?". If the muslim community agrees to build elsewhere because of local hate, what next? Should we expect them to let us push them back to the middle east? Isn't one of the great freedoms of America the freedom of religion?
    I can see what's coming just as all of you can. The community center will be built and attacked. More people will probably die. It seems inevitable. People stubbornly believe in the freedom of their country. And others hate. The two can't coincide.
    So maybe the answer is we stop being a free country? Tell people who/how to worship? If we give up enough of our freedoms, will we finally feel safe?

    They shouldn't build their community center there, that's an unfortunate fact. But only because of intolerance and hate. The people who would use that facility are not the terrorists. They're American citizens, residents of New York city. Many of them lost loved ones on 9/11 too. But that entire religion has been painted with that one hateful brush.

    If we are able to stop the Muslims from being free, will we then stop hating?

    August 12, 2010 at 1:17 am |
  18. David Scott

    I wrote a post on my blog about this subject. Check it out: http://www.writersintervention.com/.

    August 12, 2010 at 1:15 am |
  19. Vin

    Who needs an outreach center? America or the Muslim world? Who has more misgivings and wrong ideas about the other? In my opinion, it is the Muslim world that needs to be educated on what America is about because the unfortunate fact is that a large part of the muslim world is still ruled by demagogues and tribal warlords whose only purpose in life is to hate the west of which America happens to be the epicenter. So build outreach centers in the muslim world, not in America. Use the $100 million to educate the kids in developing Muslim nations so that we do not create generations of disgruntled, misguided youth tomorrow. After all, if people have a job, they wont have time to make bombs.............

    August 12, 2010 at 1:07 am |
  20. Do The Right Thing

    This location has no meaning to the Muslims. They have stated this in many interviews. It has enormous meaning to the rest of us. This is reason enough for them to do the right thing and follow their teachings. For them to do nothing to harm others. Do not hurt others by building your mosque at ground zero. Thank you in advance. I know you will do the right thing.

    August 12, 2010 at 12:59 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.